high noon at cagayan garden
isabel and alfredo aquilizan
august 15, 2017
CURATED BY DIANA CAMPBELL BETANCOURT
High Noon at Cagayan Garden by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan opened on August 15, 2017 and closed on October 14th, 2017 at the Bellas Artes Outpost in Manila. The exhibition is comprised of two installations conceptualized and produced with the Bellas Artes Projects workshops in Bataan at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar during January component of the Aquilizan family's long-term and ongoing residency with Bellas Artes Projects. The first installation, Cagayan Garden (2017) takes inspiration from Alfredo Aquilizan's personal history growing up in Cagayan and his and Isabel's artistic concerns with displacement, change, memory and community. During their residency, Isabel, Alfredo, and their children collected posts of antique Filipino houses that had been relocated to Bataan as part of the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar's collection of heritage houses. The Aquilizans then installed these posts within a sea of marble chips placed underneath four wooden heritage Cagayan houses on site, hovering two meters off the ground on stilts. The result is an exquisite zen inspired garden where one can contemplate the journeys that the houses, and the families who once lived inside them, underwent in order for the garden to come into existence.
At noon in the garden, something magical happens. The light shining from above flows through the floorboards of the houses, creating ephemeral geometric stripes across the installation below. Noon is also the time when the craftsmen and women on site have an hour-long lunch break, and many of them come into the garden to take an afternoon nap. Taking this meditative space for labour and migration a step further, High Noon at Cagayan Garden displaces Cagayan Garden from its base in Bataan and moves it into Bellas Artes Outpost in Manila. Through the exhibition and lighting design, visitors will be suspended in a perpetual state of noon within the the Outpost. Complimenting this installation is a second installation, Thrones (2017), comprised of the sculptural wooden chairs that the craftsmen at Bellas Artes Projects create for themselves as custom platforms that allow their bodies to best work. At noon in Bataan, these chairs are empty, and during the exhibition in the Outpost, we invite writers, artists, craftsmen and women, to sit in these chairs and to share their ideas on labour and its value in society. A public programme compliments the exhibition with lectures and workshops by craftsmen and women from across the Philippines as well as artists and curators who collaborate with craft in their practice.